(MyFoxBoston.com) – An aggressive form of cancer cost a Scituate man his lower arm at a very early age, but thanks to technology his grip on life has never been better.
"I wake up every day, and I'm still amazed by the technology. The more I wear it, the more things I understand I can do with it," 48-year-old Mike Benning said of his robotic hand.
Benning has been without his lower arm for 34 years, but now he can grip cups, throw footballs, and make a sound when he claps.
Benning is the first person in the country to use the iLimb, a robotic hand that can be enhanced from a cell phone app. Tension, dexterity, and grip are all customized. Electrodes in the prosthesis detect muscle activity in his arm, and based on the specific activity, the grip patterns can be programmed to do those tasks.
For example, if Benning wanted to type on his phone or computer, the prosthesis can be programmed to do just that. He signals with muscles and the hand will do that activity.
Recently, Benning was able to shoot cell phone video of his daughter's play. He's also learned he can play football with his son even when it gets rough.
Benning admits he was discouraged at first, but now he surprises himself every day.